Sunday 30 June 2013

Latest Retail News – 30/6/2013

Latest Retail News – 30/6/2013
1. Nike records 22% profit increase in 4th quarter largely from improved US performance.
2. Malaysian hypermarket operator, Giant, to open 500 mini stores in order to lower prices.
3. Australia’s Boost Juice opens in Russia.
4. Noni B to write down the goodwill content in its accounts by $5million.
5. JB HiFi and Catch of the Day are most popular Facebook retailers.
6. US bookstore Barnes & Noble continues to rack up losses as Nook digital book reader struggles.
7. Aldi to launch online liquor sales August 1st.
8. CBA reports consumer spending at its highest level since 2007.
9. Two Us McDonalds stores stop selling halal food after standards questioned.
10. Metcash (IGA, Mitre 10) has doubled profit in the 12 months to 30th April.
11. Oxfam says more than 70% of Australians would pay more for clothing if worker safety guaranteed.

Friday 28 June 2013

Website Opportunity

BIZyourself is a business devoted to growing small businesses and they are offering traders a special deal on their “Build a Website” service at just $300 per site. That doesn’t include hosting, domain name or shopping cart but all those things can be arranged if you like.

Contact Julie Allen or telephone her on 0416 264 287. If you have thought about getting your own online presence and you fancy a business that specialises in new starters, then BIZyourself might be right for you. Don’t forget to mention that you are from the Queen Victoria Market. 

Trader's Comments - 29/6/2013

Thank you to those who take advantage of the Have Your Say facility at the top of this page. We love your input.

17/06/2013 12:13:36 Marketing' "It was interesting the other day on Thursday, when I had to call the RACV to unlock my car at the market and one of the first things he said to me was, ""Was the market open today?"" 
How is it that there are five or six people doing the 'marketing' and yet if I was to ask anyone who comes to my stall or who is on my facebook page what days the market is open or the times it is open, the majority wouldn't be able to tell me or they'd say it's only open on the weekend. When are we just going to get some signage put up all around the market and in various other places like the airport, just simply stating the times and days of the market. It's not that hard especially when theres five or six of them to do it.
And in regards to a direct bus not coming to the market, what a joke. In the old days when there was only one or two people doing marketing they'd take a bus down to station pier and pick up tourists of the ships and bring them to the market. Again not that hard to do. " Leah
27/06/2013 13:51:09 Alby,s Birthday "To    the Traders  who attended Alby's  70th  Birthday   Surprise Party on  Saturday Night   Thank you all for your Kind thoughts and best wishes really appreciated    (  Warning though all Jill's co conspiritors Look out)"

British Tourists Descend On Melbourne

The Brits are passionate about their rugby and around 30,000 have come to Australia to watch their beloved British & Irish Lions do battle with Australian teams.

It is Melbourne's turn this week and a match against The Rebels produced a record home crowd at AAMI Stadium on Tuesday night with Etihad Stadium booked out on Saturday for the test against Australia.

You will see plenty of British & Irish fans around the market and if you have any products featuring a lion or red and white colours, expect a sellout. 

The Box Storage Squeeze

A number of QVM traders are finding the reduction in offsite box storage space a real problem and it may be time they considered their options.

Most traders store their storage boxes on their stalls and have immediate access to their contents during the trading day. However, a considerable number of traders choose to take advantage of off-site storage facilities thus giving them more space on their stalls to display stock. Many of these traders have been able to locate their boxes near their stalls so they still have ready access to the stock left in the boxes. A case of having your cake and eating it too.

There has been a steady progression in cleaning up box storage. For years boxes were stored in public areas near toilet blocks for instance but now they can only be left in designated areas like M shed. The problem is that space previously used to store boxes is now required for retail use. The market is becoming more professional about maximising the retail offer with prime corners being converted to retail space and new precincts like String Bean Alley.

Finding off-site storage has become a bit of a lottery and certainly an inconvenience. Many traders will have to make new arrangements. Here are some tips.
1.    Store your boxes on your stall. Yes, this is an obvious solution. You may have to adjust your racking but that is a one-off and if you keep stock in your boxes it may prove convenient for immediate access to replacement stock.
2.    Use your boxes for display. A number of traders use their boxes as a convenient display option. Shelved boxes are great for displaying shoes for instance.
3.    Use under table space. It is difficult to claim you don't have space for storage if the area under your display tables is left empty. Box hire operators are now able to supply table size boxes that double as storage and display tops. Again, a number of traders use this arrangement and save on table hire.

Trader need to look seriously at locating their storage boxes on their stalls, particularly if they operate in the deeper stalls and have vacant under table space. For the rest, the lottery continues.

Thursday 27 June 2013

Prime Corner Stall for Sale

Sonia's curtain stall at J97-98 is for sale. This prime corner site trades Friday, Saturday and Sunday only.

The stall is currently functioning as a curtain stall but as usual management are prepared to consider alternative uses. Traders will be aware that there are a number of categories already represented in the market that will not be allowed here but if you are looking for an alternative site or a new business opportunity this stall deserves your attention.

Sonia has set a very low price for what is a prime location in J shed. If you are interested please visit Sonia on Friday or give Greg Smith a call on 0406 222 020 at any time.

QVM and Football Coaching.

The interim coach of the beleaguered Melbourne Football Club made an interesting statement in his press conference on Saturday.

When asked about the commitment of players he made the point that they were a highly motivated group held back by poor on field performance and that was the clubs responsibility. He said the club needed to get its act together and provide an environment in which players believe they could become the best they want to be.

Only when the club got those conditions right could they question the performance of players. A refreshing point of view. Perhaps one that the QVM coach could adopt.

Have Your Say - click here

28/06/2013 10:24:50 QVM and Football coaching "It is all a matter of good housekeeping clean up the house and put out the rubbish and things will run a lot smoother" JR    E  Shed

Three Days Left For Tax Breaks

In last years budget the Federal Government announced significant asset tax breaks for small business and there are only a few days left to take advantage of them.

Small businesses with less than $2 million in turnover are able to write off each business asset, including laptops and office furniture, costing under $6500. So, if you purchase a new business laptop before 1st July you are able to get an immediate deduction for that amount in your 2013 tax return.

It might be time to talk to your accountant - but don't delay.

Sunday 23 June 2013

News Under The Sheds - Things We've Heard

- Jenny Hibbs has been appointed General Manager at Dandenong Market - reported in a Dandenong Market memorandum dated 21st. June.
- A customer from WA suggests more Perth tourists will visit QVM following the closure of Perth Market and the unsuccessful renewal of Fremantle Market.
- the operators of Uscha have taken over one of the String Bean Alley containers to add to their existing market stall.
- The allocation of a stall in J shed to a souvenir operator who already operates 4 stalls has been withdrawn. (CORRECTION: Please note that this report is incorrect. No stall has been allocated and so there has been no withdrawal. At any one time there are many stall applications held at QVM and we have been assured they are all treated with due diligence. It would appear the rumour mill got ahead of itself on this occasion  - Ed.)

Saturday 22 June 2013

Latest Retail News – 22/06/2013

Latest Retail News – 22/06/2013
1. Woolworths to open its first 24hr supermarket in Brisbane.
2. Council of Small Business Australia calls for shopping centre code of conduct to protect retailers from bullying and unfairness.
3. Three independant MPs introduce bill to restrict Coles/Woolworths duopoly.
4. Administrators of Lisa Ho fashion label close remaining shops.
5. Founders of Dolce & Gabbana sentenced to jail for tax evasion.
6. Sydney boutique butcher and deli, Hudson Meats, to open first Melbourne store in Toorak Village.
7. Coles and Woolworths say lowering GST threshold is not a key issue.

GMT Facebook Feed Reconnected

Those traders who read our website articles from the GMT Facebook page may have noticed a lack of articles over recent weeks. Actually the number of articles has been consistent but unfortunately our connection between the website and Facebook broke down. It has now been fixed and you have plenty of reading to catch up on. Just scroll down the articles here.

New App Exposes Who Is Behind Supermarket Products

Ever wondered which conglomerate is behind that product on your supermarket shelf or whether they partake in genetic modified food, and even if they support same sex marriages? There is an app for that.

Buycott was launched a few months ago and immediately experienced a server meltdown as response dramatically exceeded expectations. Basically, Buycott enables the scanning of product bar codes which then gives you product information not readily available to consumers.

If you scan a pack of Splenda sweetener you will find that it's parent company is in fact Johnson & Johnson. You can scan a product to find if it is made by one of the 36 major corporations that donated money to a fund to oppose the mandatory labeling of genetically modified food. And if you scan a bag of Starbucks coffee beans you will find it is made by a company that supports equal marriage.

The bottom line is that the drive for consumer rights and transparency in product selection is growing. Is it any wonder that we find customers are more demanding and have higher service expectations than ever before.

Stall Repetition Starts With Management

Stall repetition is a major problem at QVM and if it goes uncorrected it could lead to our downfall.

Customers complain regularly about the sameness of market aisles, the repetition of products and the “tat” (or cheap and nasty products). If the complaints only came from one source, we might be able to ignore them, but they are coming from online travel review sites like Trip Advisor, direct from customers at the market, and from other feedback sources.

Empire building (allowing stallholders to own multiple stalls of the same product lines) is a major contributor to the problem of repetition but the cause goes a step higher in the chain. Recruiting new traders and allowing expansion by existing traders, are functions controlled by our management team.

The top end of the Queen Victoria Market has been allowed to grow in size over recent years. The fruit and vegetable aisles (A, B, C) have been populated with General Merchandise Stalls and we have added in String Bean Alley as management does its very best to maintain rental income. Who can blame them? They are required to submit an annual rental return to Melbourne City Council and have strict budgetary guidelines. However, populating stalls without due regard for the essence of customer appeal (variety and individuality from committed and passionate small businesses) has led to a lowering of standards.

In addition, the GFC has had a huge impact not just in strict financial terms but in consumer behaviour. This has further stretched the top end and opened up some gaps that make it even more difficult for management to fill stalls. One of their answers has been to allow multiple stall ownership and there is no shortage of takers. Cashed up traders see an opportunity to expand their businesses and who can blame them? Just like in the stock market, you buy when the market is down and reap the rewards when the market goes up. Unfortunately the resulting repetition of stalls is killing our market in the process.

So, to fill all the gaps, we have two choices. We make our market smaller or we go on a recruiting drive for new traders and new stock lines. Let’s assume that the second option is the more positive one.

Do we have to work harder at attracting new traders? – Yes we do. Markets in other parts of the world are actively seeking new traders and offering them incentives to join up.
Should we make it harder for new traders to start-up at QVM? – No! We need to make it easy for a new business to start here but that is just the start of the process. We then give them ongoing professional guidance on how they can make a significant contribution to QVM. No licences, no locking in, just active assistance for at least 12 months. Let’s be a real small business incubator, not a pretend one.
Can traders help? – Traders are active business people with a good understanding of what it takes to succeed at places like QVM. As traders come across prospective new businesses in the course of their normal business day or family life, they should encourage them to consider QVM as a business option.
Does this require a massive shift in the recruiting process? – Yes it does. For years, QVM has had the luxury of small businesses coming to our door. Now we have to set up procedures, processes, and the necessary manpower to become professional trader recruiters. That is a real challenge for QVM and, if String Bean Alley is any guide, we have a long way to go.

Friday 21 June 2013

CEO Jennifer Hibbs Resigns


We have just been formally advised by Chairman Paul Guerra that The Queen Victoria Market’s CEO Jennifer Hibbs has resigned. Jenny has been with the market for over 25 years and was appointed CEO in 2008. We will bring you more details as they come to hand.

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Tourist Reviews of QVM

Following are some random reviews taken from Trip Advisor, the online holiday destination review site. They were taken from posts at the end of April but it is a good idea to bookmark Trip Advisor as they have reviews on a regular basis. 
We have listed posts that relate to General Merchandise although most of the other posts are about food.
On balance the reviews are complimentary although we do have some comments about cheap goods and obviously some tourists were disappointed with their experience. There are  some things we need to work on.

“Buying food - excellent; otherwise cheap” Reviewed 14 April 2013 - California
It was an experience going to this market. If you are there to buy food, you will be amazed! If you are there to buy interesting things to take home, you will just find "rubbish" as our bellman told us afterwards. He was right.
“Great for all budgets” Reviewed 17 April 2013 - Melbourne
OK it's not the prettiest market around, it is pretty scruffy but that is part of it's history, it was apparently built on the first graveyard in Melbourne. 
There is plenty of "rubbish" I agree. BUT there are gems also like good quality Ugg Boots and sheepskin at a great price, and they sell my very favourite bags there. The top end near the road, they still sell (saw it last weekend) this fabulous leather bag for $99 that is a shoulder bag, can go across the body and even convert to a security back pack as the zip around folds up making it very safe. No I don't know who sells it, but I sure love mine! There are also tablecloths with the world map that are great quality, plenty of things. Of course there is plenty of value fruit and vegetables, meat and fish. And junk, yes there is that too. Leather is probably the best value, also great quality leather jackets. So there is something for everyone. It's not air conditioned or heated, very open air but that's the way it is. You just have to look!!
“Don't buy any souvenirs until you come here!!!!!” Reviewed 18 April 2013 - California
Could not believe the size and variety of this marketplace. Was not able to cover the whole thing in 3 hours. The prices are sensational. We have been so shocked at the prices in Australia, but could have bought so much more at the market, had we more suitcase room. Great Aboriginal items, cheap. Lots of t-shirt shops...5 bucks for nicely embroidered shirts. Scarves were plentiful and varied and a great price, There was a shop that featured a hundred or so laser-cut cards that were in such detail...less that 4 bucks each. My friend bought a rolling shopping cart with a colorful rain-resistant bag that was so wonderful to wheel around rather than carry our purchases,,,,18 bucks! Koala with baby koala backpacks for kids, made of fur with zippers...5 bucks.
 “As good as always!” Reviewed 18 April 2013 - NZ
Always love the markets! We got there late so missed out on half of it but still managed to grab a characterised portrait and a couple of other things! Great atmosphere and lovely goods, food and everything else you can think of! :) don't be scared to bargain with these guys too for a good buy!
 “Go for the fresh food” Reviewed 27 April 2013via mobile – Newcastle NSW
This is a fantastic place for those who want to buy fresh produce. The meat and fish hall offers a wonderful range of butcheries offering every imaginable cut of red meats, poultry and game along with a wide variety of quality seafood. The fruit and vegetables stalls seem to go on for ever with very fresh produce at prices well below the supermarkets. And the continental food hall has a great range of vendors offering baked goods, preserved meats and cheeses. If you live in the area or are staying in self catered accommodation in Melbourne, this is the only place to shop.

My only caution is don't go along expecting anything special from the general merchandising stalls. While some of the leather goods are of OK quality and value, the majority of the stalls offer basic clothing or cheap imported this-n-that. If you are expecting the innovative arts and crafts found at the Rocks Markets in Sydney you will be sorely disappointed.
 “Fresh produce and affordable souvenirs available!” Reviewed 29 April 2013 – Georgetown Malaysia
This market is just filled with loads of fresh produce from fruits, vegetables, meat and seafood. It's definitely the place to go to get fresh and affordable produce. It's also a place to taste an array of foods like sandwiches, pies, quiche, pastries, yoghurt and others. You can just buy something to snack on while shopping or choose to have your lunch at the sidewalk of the market. Souvenirs are also available for all tourists. There are many stalls that buy similiar things but the further you walk, you might get cheaper prices or alternatively you may choose to haggle with the owner. It's definitely a shoppers and tourists' paradise.
“Our visit to queen victoria market melbourne” Reviewed 1 May 2013 - Calcutta
Not knowing fully about this market,we got down from the hop in hop off free tram at Elizabeth Street when pre recorded commentary in the tram informed us about this heritage market, We were amazed to see the variety and quality of various merchandise especially the farm and agricultural produce being sold by chinese stall owners, I was amazed to see that all tropical fruits & vegetables produced and consumed in INDIA were available there. Fortunately and again not knowingly, we went on a sunday when a separate section of the market sells & displays various artecrafts and goods and the market teems with customers We were virtually lost in the maze of hundreds of shops and goodies Wine stalls sold home made wines and free testing was welcome! We purchased some garments from a chinese shopkeeper after a little bargaining though bargaining was not encouraged.We also purchased a wall hangig showpiece from a Vietnamese stall for AUD 60 We were totally amazed by the sheer volume and variety of goods shops Since we stayed in a hotel located on Elizabeth Street, we walked down to the market at about 6pm and found to our astonishment and disappointment that whole area was deserted &abandoned!All busy food cafes on the sidewalk of Elizabeth Street have simply vanished as the total market complex closes down on sunday at 5pm Next day monday was a holiday for the market. It remains closed on mondays and wednesdays Visit to this age old heritage market was indeed an unique experience . We had also visited Paddy's market in Sydney which is also a very old and heritage market. Despite having some similarity between these two markets,Queen Victoria scored over Paddy's to us and I would strongly recommend to visit this market as a great tourist attraction in Melbourne.

“Foood lovers' Heaven!” Reviewed 1 May 2013 - Ireland
If you love food, you are bound to enjoy the Queen Victoria Market where you'll find every kind of olive you want, tasty spreads made of aubergine, olive, garlic, tomato or, in fact, just about anything delicious. There are breads of every sort and shape - aside from Irish brown soda bread. Wine lovers will be drooling, carnivores will satisfy their every whim and fish lovers will plunge the depths of choice. Fruit and vegetables competed for attention but were all of high standard. I've been to many markets around the world, but the Queen Victoria beats all the others I know.

And I haven't mentioned the clothes, shoes, Uggs, tools, memorabilia, artifacts, tools, make up and sweets and cakes. The variety is just too wide to list. There are also places to eat from Sushi, to Italian, vegetarian to fish and chips, and much much more.

If you ever get the opportunity to visit Melbourne, go to the Queen Victoria Market -you won't regret it. If you visit outside the weekend, entry is free.
“Disappointed. Probably great for locals or food shopping” Reviewed 7 May 2013 - London
Great market if you're looking to buy food, but was expecting something more like Spitalfields market in London with young fashion designers, arts, crafts etc. Only reason for disappointment.
“Worth a visit” Reviewed 7 May 2013 - California
We had only 45 min to visit the market so we quickly looked into the meat, seafood, deli, fruit and vegitable sections before going to the goods market to buy some fun gifts. I think it would have been fun to have a bit more time to rummage around - perhaps 1 1/2 hr ?
“Repetitive” Reviewed 7 May 2013 - Hobart

When vendors sell the same items row after row it starts to get a little droll by the end. To find something a little different was like finding GOLD.
That being said, I managed to find a photo journal a friend had been wanting for years and a lovely scarf. My daughter had been looking all week for a jumper and found just what she was looking for at the market. Admittedly the style was in 3 different stalls (so they must all buy off the same people), with no variation in price, so we bought it off the person we liked the best.
It's definitely worth going for a look to see what gold YOU can find.

Sunday 16 June 2013

Latest Retail News – 16/6/2013

Latest Retail News – 16/6/2013
1. French luxury brand, Saint Laurent, launches Australian shipping option.
2. Harbourside Shopping Centre in the heart of Sydney’s Darling Harbour is up for sale.
3. Retailers express the least confidence in future business expectations.
4. Coles accused of wrongly branding bread as baked in store.
5. ASOS reports Australia has contributed to 45% increase in online sales.
6. Westpac warns sharp bounce in June Consumer Confidence may be short lived.
7. Zara reports sales up 5.2% to A$5.10 billion in the 3 months to end April.
8. Target headquarters to stay in Geelong despite job losses.
9. US May retail sales beat expectations with 0.6% rise.

Are Empire Builders Working Against QVM?

Traders or families who operate multiple stalls at QVM are being scrutinised in the wake of customer criticism that there is too much repetition at our market and that really goes against the traditional market model. The matter has been highlighted this week with news that a souvenir trader who already operates 4 stalls, may be granted another souvenir stall.

We know that stall repetition at QVM is an issue with our customers and, although there a few factors at play, a significant contributor is individuals or families who operate a number of stalls with the same product ranges. Traditionally, market stalls have been operated by passionate, committed individuals with a clever idea, great product knowledge, and the personal enthusiasm that customers find particularly appealing. That environment craves individuality and variety and stamps itself as being quite different to boring shopping malls. Traders with strong links to their product ranges need a certain amount of entrepreneurial spirit to succeed but when expansion and domination become the primary drivers we question how appropriate they are to QVM. 

Markets have been described as places where businesses are essentially "fragile and modest". This doesn't mean that there isn't a place for larger businesses. Marks & Spencer, the famous UK department store still operates a stall out of Kirkgate market in the UK. and Maille's condiment store at Spitalfields Market is a standout. For QVM it is a question of repetition rather than size or reputation.
QVM is a large market and probably vast enough to accommodate some repetition. However, when that works against our customer appeal it must be corrected.

16/06/2013 18:12:54 Empire Building "Yes,yes,yes!!!! You wanna build an empire, go play with the big boys outside of the market. And let us "modest" guys just get on with what we do. Offer the best quality at the best price, on merchandise we really care about." 
 17/06/2013 07:08:03 empire?? "the stall you are commenting on in this blog,will aesthetically look good, presented well."

17/06/2013 08:42:25  Empire Building!         "Dear Trader, it seems you are missing the point. This is not about a particular stall. The problem and discussion is a lot bigger than that. The Market has been allowed (with the obvious complicity of certain traders and management) to allow unacceptable numbers of stalls selling like products, which is detracting enormously from public appeal and hence the drawing power of the market. But it's even more complex than that.

The other very attractive aspect of a market is that they're not about multinational corporations or franchises or big business, but small independent retailers, typically individual run or family run, which are at the market because they are an alternative to the mentality and philosophy outside of the market. They are an alternative, something different, friendlier, more human, more social and personable. Hence the famous and essential ""point of difference"". The fact is that the market will only be able to compete with other outside retail outlets when its perceived to be about people who are less interested in ""money, money, money"" and are very interested and passionate in people and products. Which can also be read as service and quality.

Yes, they also need to achieve along with quality, price. But not because they have large business interests in and out of the market, and exploit the low cost possibility the market offers to ""make a killing"". And in the process devour the market and ""take over"" their sector of the market. Seriously if you want to do that, you are in the wrong place, go outside with the other sharks (apologies to sharks). Quality is achieved by being so passionate about what we do and having such pride in what we offer that nothing but the best is acceptable. Price is possible because we have relatively low costs in operating from the market. And if we're serious we have done some real hard work to source out a special product at a special price. We don't just pick up the phone and ask our supplier to send another 100 of whatever's going at the moment.

So let us recap: To survive a market needs a point of difference. Granted one of its main difference needs to be price as well as quality, but even that alone won’t do it anymore, because most readily available products can be had for the same price and quality online or in discount stores. So what we desperately need is a reason why you would come to the market, and the most likely reason is because you can't find what we've got at the prices we've got with the passion we've got and the knowledge we've got anywhere else. Ideally it should be (as it once was) that you knew that every time you walked into a stall you were talking to the person who made what he was selling, if not you would like him to be as close to the person making it as possible. But you definitely want him to know and love everything about the product.
For the market to survive we need to get back to as close to that model as possible. That is why world-wide statistics indicate that farmers markets are the only markets showing constant and real growth. When will we get the message? And when will we (council - management AND traders) start caring more about the market than our back pockets, because only then can we hope that the market will have a long, prosperous and dignified future.

So no dear trader, its not about you. It's about all of us. Your ""problem"" is just part of the bigger problem. And the point is, we need to start finding and working towards the solution. And I'm sorry, your having 4, 8, 12 stalls is definitely not part of the solution."           Ivano    

17/06/2013 10:42:03 Multiple stall holding "We tend to ask patrons (where appropriate) a) Where are you from? and b) what do you think of the market? By far the most common responses are that there is too much repetition and that there is too much Rubbish (their word, not mine). By that I assume they mean low cost, poor quality. Good products, reasonable prices and a good presentation are the key elements in retail - and especially in the QVM. This will differentiate you from the herd. I have not counted how many stalls sell almost identical items and it would be interesting to see an analysis. Whatever the result, we don't want multiple holdings offering the same product." Terry Lawn - Airllywood

12/06/2013 19:51:20 Customer response "We had a pretty good trading day on Saturday and Sunday , But a lot of our customers have told us that returnig to the market was an experience for some, as they have noticed a decline in good quality merchandise across. They said it was a huge repeat of the same everywhere and a lot of very cheap stuff as in $2.00 SHOPS. They felt the market went down hill since they visited last and there are only a handfull of traders that offer a good quality merchandise at great prices that the customers are happy to come back for." Lusia. - Editors note: Lusia's comment was posted last week but we felt it was appropriate to link it with this article. We hope that is OK Lusia.

17/06/2013 11:41:12 Multi stalls "Well said Ivano. As I have grown up in the market I have seen many changes. Traders coming and going, traders passing away and lots of changes in what is sold here. What I have noticed in the past few years is the increase in the same stalls owned by the same people but obviously not operated by them as you can't operate more than one stall your self. How can a couple operate four or five stalls selling scarves, hats and cheap jewellery or souvenirs? Ever since these new trader leases have come in all the old systems and rules are being pushed out the door. Do we want to have an aisle full of souvenirs, another of clothes, another of childrens wear (which I know they are trying to do in C shed)? If this happens there go all the customers. They come in to buy childrens things so thats where they directly go, so of course they don't go down any other aisle and everyone else loses out. In the old days we all used to fight to prevent this from happening, but are we all to scared in case those on the leases lose their lease or we get a strike against our name. I'm proud of what my mum and dad created and I want to keep it going, but with all these new traders being allowed to bring cheap, low quality products in and have multiple stalls it's really starting to make us look like a trash and treasare." Leah  

18/06/2013 15:24:24 empire "I think another point is that we are all in the market to make money, there is no question in that,we all work long hours but is it right that for some reason one trader is allowed to expand and the next trader who has been in the market for generations is not. I believe that there is a place for everyone,but the playing field must be level for all, not just a chosen few. My market was build on tradition and the sad fact now is that tradition has been thrown out the door. " Drita  


Recruiting New Traders – The Game Has Changed

It is not so long ago that a high percentage of phone calls to our market office on a Monday morning would have been trader hopefuls eager to get a stall and participate in the riches that retailing offered. That has all changed and now QVM has to work hard to get the sort of trader that will add significantly to our product mix.

The key term is “add significantly” because there are plenty of hopefuls armed with product catalogues out of China, often with no retail experience or knowledge of the Australian retail market, who feel they should be part of our retail scene. The gutters are littered with their failed businesses.

The classic model of market participation usually involved a passionate, committed, person or partnership with a good idea, the skill to push it through, and the willingness to sacrifice time and lifestyle to achieve success. Most of todays successful market traders have exhibited those qualities. Those who come here just to flog something, or who lack the passion and commitment, can survive (often with alternative income sources) but they add nothing to the overall mix of the market.

Getting the right sort of traders with the right sorts of products is not easy and String Bean Alley is a good example of the problem. String Bean Alley provides the variety and individuality that customers crave in markets like ours. It is an excellent counter to the “Made In China” model that exists in many markets around the world. But we are struggling to find appropriate traders. UK markets experienced a similar problem but they have applied a number of measures to fix it. They actively go out and pursue prospective applicants, they offer rent free or rent-reduced periods, assistance with setting up both in administration and facilities and they recognise that some businesses are always going to be financially fragile. In other words they are prepared to make concessions because the trader adds so much to the look and feel of the market.

QVM has rarely had to contend with these difficulties in their recent history. Let’s hope they learn fast.

Have Your Say - click here

Friday 14 June 2013

QVM Says No To Tourist Bus

QVM management and Council have advised us that a dedicated QVM shuttle bus is not a priority at this time as we are already a stop on the official Melbourne Tourist Shuttle.

Consideration of a dedicated shuttle came out of discussions with management on how we could renew the flow of tourist buses to QVM. Buses don’t just turn up any more. They are now part of an organised wholesale tourist business that relies on fees and in some cases a percentage of retail sales. When it became clear that QVM were having difficulty integrating with the outside tourist bus network we asked if we should perhaps consider our own bus which could be used to pick up city tourists and indeed any other group interested in coming to the market.

Have Your Say – click here.

4 Tips for Beating Online Retailers

An interesting article in the Harvard Business Review last week gave tips on how brick and mortar stores can beat online retailers and much of the advice was relevant to market traders.

First we should acknowledge that brick and mortar stores are unlikely to compete with online retailers when it comes to price. An online warehouse operation is always going to be cheaper to run than a retail store largely because of rent. But let’s look at where brick and mortar can get an advantage –

1. Branded, exclusive products. – department stores do this well. They tie up a brand for their exclusive sale so customers have to come to them if they want that brand. For market traders that is not easy unless you make your own goods.

2. Non-exclusive goods but with a unique feature – this may be adapting a well known product or perhaps just packaging it in a way that creates a difference.
3. Non-exclusive but well-priced – despite what we said in our second paragraph, there are still areas where a brick and mortar retailer can undercut online. Many manufacturers and wholesalers find cash purchases by market traders to be attractive sources of sales and worthy of a “special” price.
4. Best bought in a store – many customers will not buy apparel online, preferring to go in store and try on. Goods that require assembly will often make it preferable to go in store. For instance many customers will avoid having to assemble a BBQ or a pushbike.

Brick and mortar stores need to “create value” without just relying on price. How does your business fit in?

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Why Fashion Seasons Have Become Unfashionable

It used to be easy for fashion retailers. There were basically two fashion seasons in a year (summer and winter) and Australia was about a season behind the trends in other parts of the world. Then along came technology and a new customer attitude that changed the game.

It is no longer appropriate for retailers to simply buy or copy European designs six months after they have been released overseas. Consumers can now buy online at the time fashions are introduced no matter where in the world that might be. Australian consumers are unlikely to buy long winter coats in the heat of our summer but they have a lot more flexibility in the crossover periods. In addition clothing has become more universal with many items being made in styles and materials that can be worn all year round.

The end result is that Australian retailers are now stocking both summer and winter fashions all year and being competititive means keeping up with the very latest, not just last season’s latest.

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Why We Need 50% More Customers.

Hands up those traders who experienced a business buzz on Sunday 9th June?

It seems a combination of a long weekend, a Portuguese Food Festival, and "let's go out" weather produced one of the biggest market crowds we have seen in a while and for most traders it reflected in better business.

It was an interesting week with most traders reporting very poor business Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (what has happened to Fridays recently?). Saturday produced a pick up for many and Sunday was a huge crowd but with interesting dynamics. A number of traders reported an increase in "Anglo-Australian families" while a couple of traders were found wandering around the market just to get away from their stalls and the bargain hunting customers that were driving them crazy. A couple of traders reported high trading levels not seen for a while.

These are all anecdotal observations and we would be very interested in your individual experiences (click below) but in the meantime it is probably safe to draw some conclusions -
1.    It is still possible to get good business levels if the right combination of crowd-drawing factors is aligned at the same time.
2.    The old standards of customer counts can be thrown out the window. We had a bumper crowd on Sunday and business was adequate but hardly exceptional by pre-GFC standards. Consumers have changed dramatically over the last 5 years and, at the risk of being crude, they have become "tight-a...s". It is obvious that we now need many more customers to achieve a reasonable return for the day.

One thing seems certain however. QVM Management can stop feeling comfortable about 3-4% increases in customer traffic. Increases as small as that are meaningless in todays retail environment. The game has changed significantly. We have to set our sights a lot higher if market decline is to be arrested. Obviously we can't create a long weekend every weekend but, if QVM could get the crowd drawing machine into top gear, and perhaps add a turbo-charger in the form of high profile marketing, we might just get the right results.

Saturday 8 June 2013

Latest Retail News – 9/6/2013

Latest Retail News – 9/6/2013 
1. Leaked documents suggest 50 Pie Face franchises out of the company’s 77 stores are up for sale. 
2. Vodafone warned about not meeting industry standards in disclosing mobile phone charges. 
3. Bunnings plans to open more than 60 Bunnings Warehouse stores over next 3 years. 
4. Billabong takeover talks continue to flounder. 
5. April retail sales figures up 3.1% on 2012 with food retailing showing best growth. 
6. Minimum wage rises $15.80 per week to $606.40. 
7. Reserve Bank leaves interest rates unchanged at 2.75% 
8. Australian fashion chain, Cue, takes stake in high-end fashion label, Dion Lee. 
9. British high street clothing brand, River Island, sets up Australian website. 
10. Myer website crashes after launch of online stocktake sale. 
11. Aldi to anchor 3 retail shopping centres in Sydney. 
12. ACCC tackles online retailers with confusing fine print on Australian consumer rights. 
13. Coles to be key partners promoting the One Direction concert tour in 2013. 
14. Coles launches “no annual fee” credit card. 
15. Target and Kmart sign the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Agreement.